independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Wexford man had to run from London helicopter crash

'OUR IMMEDIATE THOUGHT WAS THAT THE BUILDING WAS GOING TO FALL SO WE ALL MADE A RUN FOR IT'

A WEXFORD MAN was at the centre of the pandemonium in central London last week which saw two people killed and eleven injured when a helicopter plummeted to the ground in rush hour traffic.

Alan Crosbie, who is originally from Foulksmills, has been working in London for the last four years and was in the building right next door in the St George's Wharf development when the helicopter clipped a crane and spun out of control.

'I arrived into work as normal,' Alan said. 'I parked the van right underneath the crane and went into the office. The next minute there was pandemonium.'

The helicopter, which was under the control of experienced pilot, Pete Barnes clipped the crane which sits on top of one of Europe's tallest residential towers, causing it to spin out of control and plunge into the street near Vauxhall train station.

' There was a huge bang,' Alan said. ' Then all you could see were bits of the helicopter and bits of the crane falling into the street below.

'Our immediate thought was that the building was going to fall down so we all made a run for it straight away. We didn't know what was going on. We couldn't see a whole lot because it was so foggy.'

The poor visibility on Wednesday morning is thought to be the main cause of the accident which saw pilot Pete Barnes and a person on the ground, named as Matthew Wood, lose their lives.

The helicopter eventually crashed to the ground, bursting into flames just one street over from the site where Alan was working as a ground engineer.

' The helicopter hit the ground, probably one street over from where the crane is. You could see the flames and the thick black smoke rising from where we were. Emergency services arrived about five minutes later and closed off the street and things like that.

'Looking back on it I suppose it was pure luck that the helicopter landed in the street and managed to avoid crashing into one of the buildings. It could have been a lot worse.'

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